Audubon Florida asks beach visitors to not deploy fireworks to keep nesting birds safe
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Audubon Florida Shorebird Biologist Michael Ferrara said setting off personal fireworks on the beach could cause birds to panic and abandon their young, leaving the nest and chicks vulnerable to predators and heat.
Often birds and marine animals are also harmed by the debris from fireworks litter that they mistake for food.
This Fourth of July weekend is the final chance of the season for many birds on the Forgotten Coast to raise their young successfully.
Therefore, Audubon Florida suggests visitors and Floridians attend municipal firework events that are far from nests and won’t cause shorebirds to panic.
The shorebird biologist said the beach habitat and the population of five beach bird species have declined over the last 10 years in Florida.
“Some of these species are below 250 nesting pairs in the state, and we want to try to protect them because a lot of people care about them. They’re charismatic creatures that deserve a place on this planet. They are indicators of how healthy these ecosystems are,” Ferrara said.
Ferrara said to help keep birds safe, stay back at least 100 feet from nests, keep pets leashed and away from birds, don’t walk or drive through flocks of birds and throw out trash and food that could attract predators.
“A lot of these species have been working hard for a month or two to lay these eggs and to have these chicks, but one weekend of an overcrowded beach can cause such a big difference,” Ferrara said.
Audubon Florida has posted signs on the beach that indicate where nests are so visitors can keep their distance.
Bird Stewards with Audubon Florida will be at beaches across Florida this weekend to help promote safety for beach-nesting birds.
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